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AIB League Central: Round 1

AIB League Central: Round 1

…No Brotherly Love At Rosbrien…Lights! Camera! Eaton!…More To Come From Carlow…Mary’s Set The Bar High…Teams Of The Week…Say What?…Numbers Game…

NO BROTHERLY LOVE AT ROSBRIEN: Brothers Mark and Paul Ryan achieved a notable feat at Rosbrien last Saturday when they captained opposing teams for an AIB League Division Two game.

The Ryans, both comfortably in the second row or back row, are pictured above in their Old Crescent and Wanderers kits with match referee Colin Stanley.

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The pair played their part in an entertaining clash which was won 7-6 by Wanderers, thanks to David Burns’ late try.

Paul, the elder at 29, previously played for Old Crescent and the transfers between both clubs has been quite frequent over the years.

Indeed, Wanderers’ Limerick connection is particularly strong.

The club’s previous captain, hooker Bevan Cantrell, is a former Young Munster player, and Limerick men Billy Tracey, Daithi Fitzgerald and Ronan Likely, along with Ryan, have all played for Wanderers in the last few seasons.

That Treaty city link has been extended this season with former Shannon out-half Niall McNamara and prop Brian McNamara joining their brother Melvin at the Merrion Road club.

LIGHTS! CAMERA! EATON!: Former Ireland Under-19 and Under-20 hooker Stephen Douglas has a future as a rugby pundit, judging by his assistance in video-recording last week’s Ballymena v Young Munster game for the Braidmen’s website.

Currently out injured, Douglas braved the elements to give the viewer his insight into the 21-10 win for Ballymena.

You can check out the video here and watch out for his short and sweet interview with Ballymena coach Jacques Benade at the end.

The addition of video coverage to the Eaton Park’s club website has to be commended and we doff our caps to the Ballymena web team and all involved. Well done and keep it coming!

Talk of Douglas fronting a new BBC Northern Ireland rugby show is premature, and it may be that the talented Ulster Academy player ends up double-jobbing as a rugby star and part-time A-capella singer.

Anyone for some ‘Afternoon Delight’? Remember, this is the future of Irish rugby we are looking at here! 

MORE TO COME FROM CARLOW: County Carlow may have begun the new season short a number of players due to injuries and work commitments, but it was hard not to sit up and take notice of their 42-0 demolition of Waterpark last Saturday.

Some aspects of the midlanders’ play disappointed coach Jason Jones and team captain Sean Hennessy, yet it is hard to argue with a total of seven tries scores and none conceded.

The Oak Park victory comes on the back of Carlow’s qualification for the AIB Cup’s second round. However, flanker Hennessy feels his side are capable of better performances.

“We made very hard work of it,” he told the Carlow Nationalist after the Waterpark game.

“We had most of the ball in the first half and didn’t do a lot with it.

“We let them get back at us for a while but we have work to do yet.

“We need to get the phases together. The back line was under-strength (today) and to do what we did was encouraging.

“With the few lads missing they are going to find it hard to get back on the team.

“You need to work hard to get on this team and players will have to lift their game to make the starting 15.

“It will be even better when we get back to full strength. Spirits are high.

“It is going to be a long season and it is great to have got off to a good start.”

After being relegated from Division One in 2006 and sliding out of Division Two in 2007, few in the AIB League would begrudge Carlow an upturn in fortunes.

MARY’S SET THE BAR HIGH: Any AIB League clubs down in the dumps after opening day defeats should try and visit Templeville Road, where there is a definite feel-good mood.

St. Mary’s College, led this season by director of rugby Peter Smyth and coach Ciaran Potts, set pulses racing at a wet Stevenson Park last Saturday.

Their side came from 10-3 down to score four second half tries and beat a shellshocked Dungannon 27-10.

A great start to the Dubliners’ campaign, considering they lost their first four games in the league last season.

Matters off the pitch are also improving. The club launched a brand, spanking new website this week and it is also out of the top drawer. You can view it here.

There is an array of information on the club, its teams from minis up to senior level, fixtures, news and events, sponsorship. It is literally bursting at the seams.

The one and only ‘D O’Brien’ provides an excellent report on the Dungannon game and look out too for the sections for photos and wallpapers too.

Well done Mary’s, it is right up there with the best club websites in Ireland. And who wouldn’t want a Trevor Brennan wallpaper?

DIVISION ONE – TEAM OF THE WEEK:

15 – Daniel Riordan (Buccaneers)
14 – Richie Lane (Cork Constitution)
13 – Simon Morrissey (Blackrock College)
12 – Murray Kinsella (UL Bohemians)
11 – Shane Monahan (Blackrock College)
10 – Jeremy Manning (Cork Constitution)
9 – Paul O’Donohoe (Clontarf)
1 – Ronan Sweeney (St. Mary’s College)
2 – Shane Byrne (Blackrock College)
3 – Simon Shawe (Ballymena)
4 – Ian Caldwell (Ballymena)
5 – Conor McInerney (St. Mary’s College)
6 – Heinrich Stride (Clontarf)
7 – Kolo Kiripati (Buccaneers)
8 – Leo Auva’a (Old Belvedere)

DIVISION TWO – TEAM OF THE WEEK:

15 – Gareth Fry (Malone)
14 – Paul O’Brien (Bruff)
13 – Scott Deasy (UCC)
12 – Brian Cahill (Bruff)
11 – Ronan Carroll (Greystones)
10 – David Maw (Bruff)
9 – Paul Marshall (Belfast Harlequins)
1 – Martin Gately (Highfield)
2 – Stuart Philpott (Belfast Harlequins)
3 – Lewis Johnston (Ballynahinch)
4 – Gareth Rourke (Ballynahinch)
5 – Scott Lavalla (Dublin University)
6 – Peter Malone (Bruff)
7 – Mark Ryan (Old Crescent)
8 – Brian Coyle (Dublin University)

DIVISION THREE – TEAM OF THE WEEK:

15 – Michael Glancy (Rainey Old Boys)
14 – Richie Thompson (Old Wesley)
13 – David Whitten (Portadown)
12 – Pieter Odendaal (Banbridge)
11 – Matt Dempsey (County Carlow)
10 – Chris Burnett (Sundays Well)
9 – Ian Porter (Queen’s University)
1 – Paul Karayiannis (Queen’s University)
2 – Joe Merrigan (Corinthians)
3 – Dave Small (Corinthians)
4 – Wes Whitten (County Carlow)
5 – Aidan Kearney (Suttonians)
6 – Sean Gerrity (Corinthians)
7 – Tommy Ratahi (County Carlow)
8 – Matthew Irvine (Banbridge)

SAY WHAT?:

“I kicked the ball into touch, turned away, the ball bounced off a floodlight and hit me on the head, making me fall over and sprain my wrist!”

– Old Belvedere number 8 Leo Auva’a, who starred in their win last week over UCD, reveals his most embarrassing rugby moment to the club’s website

“Succulent slices of steak cooked to your liking with a choice of fried onions, mushrooms and melted cheese on toasted fresh bread and a side of chips or salad..”

– The Belfast Harlequins’ Saturday menu goes all ‘Marks and Spencer’ for the new season! Mmmmm, steak sandwich!

“The guys battled really well out there against a good Rainey side.

“We suffered from a couple of questionable refereeing decisions and, in the conditions, things like that were always going to be crucial between two well-matched sides.

“I have no complaint about the squad’s attitude or commitment. It’s a long campaign and I’m still confident about our ability to make the top-four.”

– Despite his side’s 17-10 loss to Rainey Old Boys, Banbridge’s South African coach Andre Bester is remaining positive for the months ahead

NUMBERS GAME:

39 – The number of tries which were scored on the opening day of action in this season’s AIB League Division One. That is an average of 4.875 tries per game

4 – Blackrock College’s admirable 41-27 success over Shannon at Stradbrook last Saturday was only their fourth win in 15 AIB League meetings with the Limerick giants

41 – The number of points out-half Jeremy Manning has scored in his last two AIB League outings for Cork Constitution – he kicked 18 points in last season’s Division One final win over Garryowen and tallied up 23 (1 try, 3 conversions and 4 penalty goals) against Terenure College last weekend

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